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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Then He Simply Would Have Been Run Out of Town

December 08, 1996|SHAV GLICK

Miami Dolphin Coach Jimmy Johnson is known as a tough cookie who will get rid of any player for the slightest reason--but do you believe this?

Johnson was asked if future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino had not shown an enthusiasm for Johnson's brand of football, from the practice field to the game, what would he have done. The coach smiled and replied:

"I would have had to get rid of him. That's very simple."

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Trivia time: How many times has UCLA played Notre Dame in football?

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That's a strong grip: Chris Webber has taken a lot of heat in his NBA career, but the Washington Bullet forward understands what it means to be a role model.

"I think sometimes we take for granted the effect we have on young people," he said. "I never want to do that. I remember shaking hands with Isiah Thomas when I was 12 and my hand tingling all day. I need to be a role model. It's part of our job."

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Straight talk: Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy says the folks in New England needed the Patriots' victory last Sunday night more than the fans in San Diego:

"When the Chargers lose a big football game, folks can play tennis, go wind-surfing or pursue some other mindless outdoor activity.

"It's not that easy for those who live in the frosty, frenetic Northeast. New England fans deserve victory. We have so little else to live for."

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Ancient warriors: On the Houston Rockets, Clyde Drexler is 34, and Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley are 33. "With me, Clyde and Dream, we can drop dead any day as old as we are," Barkley said. "Clyde's got bad knees, Dream has a bad heart and I'm just crazy as hell. I get excited going to practice every day if Clyde and Dream show up."

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All in the head: Bill Russell, who won NBA championships as a player and a coach for the Boston Celtics, notes that most players gain 10 or 15 pounds during the course of their career.

"That's not so bad," Russell said, "but the ones who really suffer are the people who put on the same amount of mental fat. That's the biggest killer of aging champions. They lose their mental toughness and concentration."

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Words of warning: Nigel Mansell, retired for nearly two years, will test drive a Jordan-Peugeot next week in a move that may lead to his return to Formula One next season.

Said two-time world champion Michael Schumacher, whose younger brother Ralf would be Mansell's teammate: "Once he has been back for one or two races, he is going to get bored because his car is not one in which he can win races."

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Trivia answer: Twice. The Bruins lost to the Irish, 27-12, in 1963 and 24-0 in 1964. Both games were in South Bend, Ind.

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And finally: Baseball fans awaken! If life is empty with only football, basketball and hockey on the scene, be patient--two months from today, pitchers and catchers will report for spring training.

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